Trump Wants an Extra $1.6 Billion for NASA’s Mission to the Moon

The Moon is shrinking Five decades on Apollo mission data still surprising

The moon is shrinking like a grape — and that may be causing ‘moonquakes,’ NASA says | The Kansas City Star

New research by NASA suggests the moon is shrinking and causing damaging moonquakes.

According to NASA's images, this process has caused the moon to shrink about 50 meters, or about 164 feet, in diameter from what it was back in 1972. The scarps form when one section of the Moon's crust (left-pointing arrows) is pushed up over an adjacent section (right-pointing arrows) as the Moon's interior cools and shrinks.

The moonquakes detected in the 1960s and 70s shook the lunar surface with power the equivalent to magnitude two to five quakes back on Earth. The earthquakes ranged from 2 to 5 on the Richter scale.


To find out if those faults were still active, the team used an algorithm called LOCSMITH used to calculate where some of the Apollo moonquakes originated.

Using the revised location estimates from their new algorithm, Dr. Schmerr and colleagues found that the epicenters of eight of the 28 shallow quakes were within 19 miles of faults visible in the LRO images. Unlike our planet, the Moon doesn't have tectonic plates; instead, its tectonic activity occurs as it slowly loses heat from when it was formed 4.5 billion years ago. At this time, additional tidal stress from Earth's gravity means that slips along the thrust faults become more likely. Researchers re-calculated the epicentres of these quakes and found that eight of them occurred near small cliffs produced along fault lines.

This thrust fault is one of thousands discovered on the Moon by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.


The moon may be dynamic and tectonically active like Earth - not the inert world some scientists had believed it to be - based on a new analysis disclosed on Monday of quakes measured by seismometers in operation on the moon from 1969 and 1977. Meteor strikes, like those that caused the Moon's most distinctive features, still rain down today, so astronomers couldn't be sure whether the Moon was shaking itself, or being shaken by external forces.

The phenomenon is similar to a grape shrinking into a raisin, a report from NASA describes.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the extra money for the moon mission would come from surplus funding for Pell grants, the financial aid program for low-income college students. The fault scarps themselves are also a clue. The Artemis mission will send the first American woman and the next American man to the moon by 2024. The agency will establish sustainable missions by 2028, then we'll take what we learn on the Moon, and go to Mars.


At the time, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine assured Pence that NASA would work hard to meet the deadline, expressing confidence that the SLS, or Space Launch System, would be ready for the job. The LROC is managed at Arizona State University in Tempe.

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